• Help

    Duties

    Summary

    The work in this position directly supports Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant and Protection Quarantine (PPQ), Policy Management, Plant and Health Programs (PHP), National Identification Services' (NIS) pest identification with the use of molecular technology and provides support to the senior Molecular Biologists (Molecular Systematists) in finding cryptic pests and performing sophisticated laboratory procedures to identify exotic pests intercepted at ports of entries, and other pests that may come from domestic surveys.  You will be performing preliminary analyses and determinations using established criteria regarding the identity of organisms potentially affecting plant health for use in determining the identity of pests intercepted at ports of entry; to identify common problems and potential impacts; and to assist senior staff in cataloguing specimen collections and digital images to improve identification skills and tools for technical field personnel.   The analytical and curation functions and technical support and advice that the incumbent renders to laboratory officials further the objectives for the detection, monitoring, and control of pests that could be a threat to American agriculture and the environment.

    Salary Information:  First time hires to the Federal government normally start at the lowest rate of the salary range for the grade selected.

    APHIS is an emergency response agency. This means that all Agency employees may be asked or assigned to participate in rotating temporary duty assignments to support emergency programs at some time during their careers with APHIS. For details click: APHIS Emergency Response

    Learn more about this agency

    Responsibilities

    The duties described are for the full-performance level. At developmental grade levels, assignments will be of more limited scope, performed with less independence and limited complexity.

    The duties may include, but are not limited to:

    • Responsible for the day-to-day operation of the diagnostic laboratory; plans, performing, and records molecular diagnostic activities aimed at identifying plant pests intercepted at ports of entries or from domestic surveys
    • Assists in compiling datasets of molecular sequences obtained from plant pests intercepted at ports of entries or from domestic surveys
    • Runs various tests following established protocols for standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR), real-time PCR, gel electrophoresis, sequencing, and sequence analysis to identify plant pests
    • Assists in developing, adapting, and implementing new laboratory protocols for identifying pests of regulatory concern
    • Assists in the deployment and use of molecular technology for pest identification within PPQ, among cooperators and collaborators
    • Keeps accurate and detailed experimental records and tabulates, statistically analyzes and summarizes data using appropriate software and computer equipment
    • Searches, reviews, and evaluates current foreign and domestic scientific literature and contacts colleagues for information on new and emerging exotic pests and diagnostic testing techniques

    Travel Required

    Occasional travel - Travel for training and work assignments may be required.

    Supervisory status

    No

    Promotion Potential

    11

    Who May Apply

    This job is open to…

    US Citizens and Nationals; no prior Federal experience is required.

    Questions? This job is open to 1 group.

  • Help

    Requirements

    Conditions Of Employment

    • US Citizenship is required.
    • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959.
    • Subject to satisfactory completion of one year probationary period.

    Special Conditions:

    • Selection and retention in this position is contingent on a successfully adjudicated FBI National Criminal History Check (fingerprint check) and a background investigation
    • Successful completion of a 1 year probationary or trial period (if new hire to the Federal service)
    • This position is eligible for telework within the local commuting area of the duty location of the position. Employee participation in telework is at the discretion of the supervisor
    • Work requires periods of moderate exertion in terms of moving equipment and supplies to conduct the taxonomic studies, phylogenetic analyses, and final diagnoses.
    • May experience long work hours, weekend work, and travel.
    • Required to extensively read numerous scientific documents, use highly specialized serological and molecular biological instruments for prolonged periods of time, and frequently use a computer.
    • The incumbent may travel domestically and internationally, and must be capable of handling personal luggage. 
    • Work is normally performed in a laboratory or office. Working with toxic chemical agents is common in a laboratory setting, and the incumbent must observe and follow appropriate safety precautions.

    Qualifications

    Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including the following specialized experience and/or education, as identified by grade level.

    BASIC REQUIREMENT: Degree: biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to the position.

    FOR THE GS-07 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade level that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:

    • Assists in developing molecular biological protocols and new technology.
    • Follows instructions to run day-to-day technical operation of the laboratory.
    • Executes laboratory activities planned made by senior staff, and assists in maintaining databases and protocols.
    • Maintains inventories of chemicals, supplies, equipment, office supplies, and other items.
    • Provides data generated to senior staff and/or supervisor.

    OR 1 year of graduate-level education in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines

    OR Superior Academic Achievement: To qualify based on superior academic achievement, you must have completed the requirements for a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution AND must meet certain GPA requirements. For more details click: Superior Academic Achievement

    FOR THE GS-09 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade level that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:

    • Experience in using molecular techniques including conventional PCR, real-time PCR, gel electrophoresis, sequence analysis, and other molecular methods.
    • Assists in developing molecular biological protocols and new technology.
    • Follows instructions to run day-to-day technical operation of the laboratory.
    • Executes laboratory activities planned made by senior staff, and assists in maintaining databases and protocols.
    • Maintains inventories of chemicals, supplies, equipment, office supplies, and other items.
    • Provides data generated to senior staff and/or supervisor.

    OR 2 years of progressively higher level graduate education in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines leading to a masters degree or masters or equivalent graduate degree

    Equivalent combinations of education and experience are qualifying for this grade level.

    FOR THE GS-11 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade level that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:

    • Experience in using molecular techniques including conventional PCR, real-time PCR, gel electrophoresis, sequence analysis, and other molecular methods.
    • Assists in developing molecular biological protocols and new technology.
    • Experience in running day-to-day technical operation of the laboratory.
    • Plans, performs and records laboratory activities, and maintains databases and protocols.
    • Maintains inventories of chemicals, supplies, equipment, office supplies, and other items, and ensures that the laboratory maintains compliance with the Agency’s safety regulations and policies.
    • Prepares oral and written reports on laboratory activities, data, and studies for other staff and supervisor.

    OR 3 years of progressively higher level graduate education in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines leading to a Ph.D. degree or Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree

    Equivalent combinations of education and experience are qualifying for this grade level.

    TRANSCRIPTS are required:

    • This position requires specific coursework or a degree in a specific field to be basically qualified.
    • If you are qualifying for the position based on education.
    • If you are qualifying for this position based on a combination of experience and education.
    • If you are qualifying for this position based on Superior Academic Achievement.
    • This education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college, or university.

    COMBINATION OF EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-07/09/11 GRADE LEVELS: Applicants may have combinations of successfully completed education and specialized experience to meet total qualification requirements. The total percentages must equal at least 100 percent to qualify for that grade level. To learn more about combining education and experience for this series, click the following: Combining Education and Experience for Professional and Scientific Positions

    Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

    Education

    Additional information

    • This position is subject to unscheduled overnight details of undetermined lengths in the event of animal health emergencies or other conditions requiring immediate response, as required by the Agency. (Extensive periods of time may be designated for overnight details.)
    • Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP), Reemployment Priority List (RPL), or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): For information on how to apply as a CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP eligible see http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/workforce-restructuring/employee-guide-to-career-transition/. To exercise selection priority for this vacancy, CTAP/RPL/ICTAP candidates must meet the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors. CTAP/ICTAP candidates must be rated and determined to be well qualified (or above) based on an evaluation of the competencies listed in the How You Will Be Evaluated section. When assessed through a score-based category rating method, CTAP/ICTAP applicants must receive a rating of at least 85 out of a possible 100.
    • More than one selection may be made if another vacancy occurs within 90 days of the issuance of the certification of eligibles.
    • Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc) should contact: USDAs TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).
    • Direct Deposit – Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to a financial institution of your choosing.
    • E-Verify: Federal law requires agencies to use the E-Verify system to confirm the employment eligibility of all new hires. If you are selected as a newly hired employee, the documentation you present for purposes of completing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Form I-9 on your entry-on-duty date will be verified through the DHS E-VERIFY system. Under the system, the new hire is required to resolve any identified discrepancies as a condition of continued employment.
    • It is the policy of the Government not to deny employment simply because an individual has been unemployed or has had financial difficulties that have arisen through no fault of the individual. See more information at: http://www.chcoc.gov/transmittals/TransmittalDetails.aspx?TransmittalID=6465

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    Applications will be evaluated in accordance with Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) Delegated Examining Procedures using category rating. The category rating procedure is used to rank and select eligible candidates. Applicants who meet basic minimum qualifications will be placed in one of three categories:  Best Qualified, Well Qualified, or Qualified.  Within these categories, applicants eligible for veterans preference will receive selection priority over non-veterans.  Category placement will be determined on applicants' quality of experience and the extend they possess the following knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) or competencies:

    • Knowledge of scientific laboratory procedure, including molecular analyses
    • Ability to conduct basic & applied research to develop PPQ strategies, methods, and/or techniques
    • Ability to manage an authoritative database of national and global plant pests, diseases & control mechanisms
    • Written and oral communication and interpersonal skills
    Your application, including the online Assessment Questionnaire, will be reviewed to determine if you meet (a) minimum qualification requirements and (b) the resume supports the answers provided to the job-specific questions.  Your resume must clearly support your responses to all the questions addressing experience and education relevant to this position.  Those determined to be in the best qualified category will be referred to the selecting official for consideration.

    Note: If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your rating may be lowered to more accurately reflect the submitted documentation. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Providing inaccurate information on Federal documents could be grounds for non-selection or disciplinary action up to and including removal from the Federal Service.


    To view the application form, visit: https://aphis.usda.ntis.gov/cp/?event=jobs.previewApplication&jobid=9F7AAD83-38C2-44F4-85E2-A76801022CCB

    Background checks and security clearance

  • Help

    Required Documents

    The following documents are required for your application to be complete. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, illegible fax transmissions, delays in mail service, your system failure or downtime, etc. Encrypted and digitally signed documents will not be accepted. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration.

    • Resume that includes the following information: 1) job information for which you are applying; 2) personal information; 3) education; 4) work experience including the work schedule and hours worked per week as well as dates of employment; and title, series and grade if applicable; 5) supervisors phone number for each work period listed and whether or not we may contact them for reference checks; and, 6) other qualifications.
    • College Transcripts If education is required or you are using education to qualify, you must submit a copy of your college transcripts. An unofficial copy is sufficient with the application; however, if you are selected, you will be required to submit official transcripts prior to entering on duty. Education must have been successfully obtained from an accredited school, college or university. If any education was completed at a foreign institute, you must submit with your application evidence that the education was evaluated by a credential evaluation service as being equivalent to U.S. education standards. There are private organizations that specialize in this evaluation and a fee is normally associated with this service. For a list of private organizations that evaluate education, visit http://www.naces.org/members.htm . All transcripts must be in English or include an English translation. 
    • DD-214 (Member 4 Copy) If claiming veteran’s preference, you must submit a DD214, Certificate of Release from Active Duty, which shows dates of service and discharge under honorable conditions. If currently on active duty you must submit a certification of expected discharge or release from active duty service under honorable conditions that is signed no later than 120 days after the date the certification is submitted. The certification must be on the letterhead of the appropriate military branch and include the dates of military service. Veteran’s preference must be verified prior to appointment. Without this documentation, you will not receive veteran’s preference and your application will be evaluated based on the material(s) submitted. 
    • If claiming 10-point veteran’s preference you must provide the DD214 or certification requirements (see above bullet), plus the proof of entitlement of this preference as listed on the SF-15 Application for 10-point Veterans’ Preference. The SF-15 should be included but is not required. Failure to submit these documents could result in the determination that there is insufficient documentation to support your claim for 10-point preference. For more information on veterans’ preference see http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/vetpref/
    • CTAP/ICTAP Documentation:  Reduction-In-Force: Certification of Expected Separation, Reduction-In-Force Separation Notice, or Notice of Proposed Removal; AND most recent performance evaluation; AND SF-50 demonstrating your separation or the position you will be separated from.
    • Worker's Compensation Separation: Agency certification of inability to place employee AND Notification of Separation OR Separation SF-50.
    • Disability Annuity Termination: Notification from OPM of disability annuity termination AND Separation SF-50 of the last position held. Military Reserve or National Guard Technician Special Disability Retirement Annuity under 5 U.S.C. 8337(h) or 8456: Certification of special disability retirement annuity from a military department or National Guard Bureau AND Separation SF-50 of the last position held.

    NOTE If a document is resubmitted, it replaces the previous submission, which means the previous document is no longer available to the Human Resources Office. If you are adding to, rather than replacing a previous submission, you must upload both the old document and the new document. Please verify that documents you are uploading from USAJOBs transfer into the Agency's staffing system as there is a limitation to the number of documents that can be transferred. However, once in the Agency's staffing system, you will have the opportunity to upload additional documents. Uploaded resumes must be less than 3MB and in one of the following document formats: GIF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, RTF, PDF, or Word (DOC or DOCX).

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

  • Help

    Benefits

    A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding.

    The Federal Service offers a comprehensive benefits package. Explore the benefits offered to most Federal employees at:  https://www.usa.gov/benefits-for-federal-employees

    Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

  • Help

    How to Apply

    Please read the entire announcement and all the instructions before you begin. The following instructions outline our application process.

    • You must complete this application process and submit all required documents electronically by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.
    • We are available to assist you during business hours (normally 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday). Applying online is highly encouraged. If applying online poses a hardship, please contact our office during business hours well before the closing date for an alternate method. All hardship application packages with supporting documents must be submitted no later than noon on the closing date of the announcement in order to be entered into the system prior to its closing.
    • This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us if you require this for any part of the application and hiring process.

    Step 1: Create a USAJOBS account (if you do not already have one) at www.usajobs.gov. It is recommended that as part of your profile you set up automatic email notification to be informed when the status of your application changes. If you choose not to set up this automatic notification, then you will have to log into your USAJOBS account to check on the status of your application.

    Step 2: Create a Resume with USAJOBS or upload a Resume into your USAJOBS account. You may want to customize your resume to ensure it documents duties and accomplishments you have gained that are directly related to this position in order to verify that qualifications are met. In addition, your resume must support your responses to the online questionnaire (you may preview the online questionnaire by clicking on the link at the end of the How You Will Be Evaluated section of the job announcement).

    Step 3:
    Click "Apply Online" and follow the prompts to complete the Occupational Questionnaire and attach any additional documents that may be required. You can update your application or documents anytime while the announcement is open. Simply log into your USAJOBS account and click on "Application Status." Click on the position title, and then select "Update Application” to continue.

    Agency contact information

    Human Resources

    Phone

    612-336-3227

    Fax

    612-336-3560

    Email

    MRP.Application.Help@aphis.usda.gov

    Address

    USDA APHIS MRPBS
    100 N. 6th Street, Butler Sq Bldg, Suite 510C
    Minneapolis, MN, 55403
    United States
    Learn more about this agency

    You can make a difference! The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP) needs bright, energetic and committed professionals to facilitate the domestic and international marketing of U.S. agricultural products and to protect the health and care of animals and plants in the United States. MRP offers an array of occupations and is committed to diversity in the workplace. We operate in domestic and global markets. Be part of an organization that protects the health and agriculture of the American people. Join our team!

    USDA is a great place to start or continue your career. USDA is ranked as one of the top 10 "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government" by the Partnership for Public Service (http://bestplacestowork.org/BPTW/rankings/overall/large). Rankings are based on employee feedback regarding satisfaction with their work experience.

    Next steps

    If you set up your USAJOBS account to send automatic email notifications, you will receive an email acknowledging: 1) the submission of your online Occupational Questionnaire and resume was successful, 2) if you were referred to the selecting official for consideration, and 3) if you were selected or not selected. If you choose not to set up automatic email notifications, you must check your USAJOBS account for the latest status of your application. Your application may be reviewed to verify that you meet the qualifications and eligibility requirements for the position prior to issuing lists to a selecting official. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted. We expect to make a final job offer within 40 days after the closing date of the announcement.

Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy And gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:

  • An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Legal and regulatory guidance

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/469132200. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.